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New Technology: Lab-On-A-Chip Device Can Detect Cancer Quickly

In a breakthrough, US researchers have developed a lab-on-a-chip device which allows physicians to detect cancer faster, more affordable and much less invasively from a droplet of blood or plasma screen, leading to timely interventions and better outcomes for patients. The lab-on-a-chip for biopsy analysis finds exosomes that are liquid – tiny parcels of information made by tumor cells to stimulate tumor growth or metastasize. Exosomes were believed to be trash bags which cells use to dump cellular contents.

Nevertheless, scientists realized that tumors might be somewhat useful for sending out packing molecules which mirror features of the cells that are cancerous. A new lab-on-a-chip, developed by a team led by Yong Zeng, associate professor in the University of Kansas, this is a 3D nanotechnology system which senses and combines biological elements based on a herringbone pattern often found in nature. It pushes the exosomes into contact with the chip’s detection surface considerably more effective in a process called mass transport. When particles are moving closer to the sensor surface, they are separated by a gap of liquid which generates increasing hydrodynamic resistance,” Zeng said.

We developed a 3D nanoporous herringbone structure that may drain the fluid in that gap to bring the particles in contact with the surface at which probes can recognize and catch them, he noted in the newspaper published in the Nature Biomedical Engineering journal. To develop and test the pioneering microfluidic device, the group examined the chip design using clinical evidence from ovarian cancer patients, discovering the chip may detect the presence of cancer at a quantity of plasma. The new microfluidic chips would be cheaper and easier to do than designs, allowing for testing for patients. According to Zeng, with the microfluidic chip design now proven with ovarian cancer as a model, the chip might help identify a variety of other diseases. Virtually all mammalian cells release exosomes, so the application isn’t only restricted on ovarian cancer or any one type of cancer. We are working with individuals to look at neurodegenerative diseases, breast, and colorectal cancer, for instance.

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